Press release

For Fifth Year, EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors Help Businesses in Brazil and Costa Rica with Sustainable Practices

New York, 22 July 2013

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EY, in conjunction with the Earthwatch Institute, an organization that engages people worldwide in scientific climate change research, sent 30 volunteers to Brazil and Costa Rica this spring and summer. These EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors conducted field research and leveraged their business skills to assist local cooperatives.

Each of the three separate, one-week expeditions with the Earthwatch Institute included 10 employees from EY member firms in the US, Canada, Israel, Mexico, and Latin America. In Brazil, volunteers worked with Earthwatch scientists to collect data on trees and assessed the richness, abundance and density of birds and nocturnal animals in the rainforest. The Ambassadors’ data will help Earthwatch scientists map biodiversity and various ecosystem services in the Atlantic Forest. Additionally, the Ambassadors worked closely with an ecotourism cooperative and a private farm to help them improve their marketing strategies and explore new product ideas.

In Costa Rica, the Ambassadors worked with a 2,600 member coffee farming co-operative, collecting data alongside Earthwatch scientists to help understand the practices that lead to more sustainable production of coffee. This year, the research focused on fungal diseases of coffee plants and the EY Ambassadors collected leaf and soil samples, estimated coffee yields, assessed plant health and collected data on vegetation surrounding the coffee plots. The team also assisted the cooperative leaders with effective decision-making strategies and corporate governance.

The EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors program, now in its fifth year, launched in 2009 with 11 volunteers and has since expanded to 30 volunteers a year in the Americas. With the recent 2013 expeditions, more than 100 employees from EY member firms in the US, Canada, Israel, Mexico, Central and South America have participated as EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors. This is the third year the program has traveled to Brazil and the fifth year to Costa Rica.

“The EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors program has been a big winner for the firm, our employees, the Earthwatch Institute and the local businesses that we work with in Brazil and Costa Rica,” explained Deborah K. Holmes, Americas Director of Corporate Responsibility for the global EY organization. “These diverse teams of Ambassadors expand their networks and develop relationships, adopt new perspectives, expand their global mindset and become inclusive leaders while quickly delivering helpful skills-based business projects to their local clients. It is a real win/win for all of our stakeholders and is a part of how we’re building a better working world.”

“Teaming with EY enables Earthwatch to achieve its mission to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote environmental sustainability,” said Larry Mason, President and CEO of the Earthwatch Institute. “We’re glad that EY is committed to sustainability and we look forward to continuing our work together, especially since the EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors are wonderfully productive volunteers.”

The Ambassadors’ focus on the environment and sustainability doesn’t end when they return to EY. Participants continue to incorporate sustainability into their daily behaviors and careers, whether sharing their experiences with colleagues, recruits or clients, or becoming involved with EY’s Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) work with clients. EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors are often active in the communities where they live, volunteering with local nonprofit organizations.

2013 EY-Earthwatch Ambassador Ryan Ray, a consultant within the healthcare advisory practice of Ernst & Young LLP, mused, “Working with a dynamic team in a different environment has expanded my global mindset. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working on rainforest conservation activities as well as applying my professional background to assist a local co-op. I believe I have grown tremendously both personally and professionally and I can’t wait to share my experiences with my teams.”

EY selected the 2013 EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors based on their job performance as well as commitment to the environment and to community engagement. To learn more about EY's Earthwatch expeditions and view a video recap of a past expedition, go to:

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This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a member firm of EY serving clients in the US.